Monday, February 27, 2012

Strolling Around Washington, D.C.

If you appreciate history or architecture, Washington DC is a fabulous place to visit.  Although I've been there several times, without a doubt my most memorable visit was back in 2005 when I spent 5 days there during the cherry blossom festival.   With the entire city bathed in pink, it was absolutely beautiful.  Additionally, for anyone who has not had time to explore the city at night, some of these images my prove interesting.
[click on any image to enlarge]

#10_28741  Jefferson Memorial  - 1/160 @f13, iso 400, 44mm

#10_27885  The Path Around the Tidal Basin

Walking along the edge of the tidal basin to the Jefferson Memorial was just an amazing splash of color with the cherry trees in bloom.  The photo above gives an idea of what it looks like but it's hardly a substitute for being there in person.  After visiting in April, it will be difficult to get excited about going there again at any other time of the year.

Washington is also a great place for night time photography.  To me, there is something magical watching as the darkness slowly filters out the daytime distractions to provide a different perspective the buildings and monuments.

#10_28252  US Capitol at Dusk - 2 seconds @f6.3, iso 100

The image above was made at 8:03pm, and the one below was taken just 16 minutes later.  While dusk is my favorite time for photography, it's easy to see that one can only photograph one or two sites in a day before the light is gone.   Since I was standing on the national mall only a few steps from the Smithsonian, I was able to photograph it as well before the sky was too dark. With few exceptions,  once the sky is black it's usually too late to get a good photo.

#10-28278   US Capitol at Night  - 8 seconds @f8, iso 100, 65mm

#10_28283  Smithsonian Castle  - 15 seconds @f4, iso 100, 33mm

#N_50872  Iwo Jima Memorial - 0.4sec @f4, iso 200, 30mm

For best results when photographing the monuments, it's important to have a wide angle lens.  Most of the buildings cannot be photographed very well without one, and using one gives you the opportunity to capture some really interesting perspectives.   Both views of the Jefferson Memorial below were photographed with a 17mm lens.  In the second one, I was lying on my back to get as much of dome as possible in the photo.

#N_50672  Jefferson Memorial  - 1/40 @f9, iso 200, 17mm

#N_50676  Jefferson Memorial  - 1/50 @f9, iso 200, 17mm

When I visited the Lincoln Memorial, I stood there trying to figure out a way to make a photograph that would not look the same as all the other ones I had seen.  I photographed the statue of Abraham Lincoln from the front, the back, and both sides,  figuring I should be able to come up with something a little bit different.   My favorite photo is below.

#10_27818  Lincoln Memorial  - 1/60 @f4.5, iso 400, 44mm

Although I did not have time to go inside the US Capitol on my trip back in 2005, I finally did take the Capitol tour in 2010.  Since the last time I had been to Washington, the new visitor center had been built, which now has guests entering the capitol from underground.

Even my 15mm fisheye lens was not wide enough to capture the underside of the capitol dome the way I wanted to.  The first image below is the best I could do, and the next one shows a close up of the painting under the dome. [click any image to enlarge]

#N_96508  US Capitol Dome  - 1/100  @f6.3, iso 400, 15mm

#N_96516  - Painting Under the Capitol Dome  - 1/30 @ f5.6, iso 400, 95mm

#10-28609   The White House  - 1/250 @f5, iso 200, 65mm

The last few images are Washington National Cathedral.

#N_96443  National Cathedral  - 1/125 @f13, iso 200, 15mm fisheye (straightened)

#N_96435  National Cathedral  - 1/10 @f2.8, iso 800, 15mm fisheye (straightened)

#N_96386  National Cathedral  - 1/20 @f2.8, iso 800, 15mm fisheye (straightened)

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